In a worldwide recession and economic slowdown as deep and penetrable as the one we’ve experienced, there are only two guarantees when the dust settles: increased government regulation of whatever it was that drove the economy into recession, and the explosion and saturation of fresh companies that cater to those who desperately demand unique services. Let’s leave the increased government regulation argument out, and focus on a company that has brought about a business and revenue generating system perhaps as unique and consistent as online advertising (though certainly not as big or revolutionary). I’m talking about the new gold rush. Upstream Worldwide, Inc.company trading over-the-counter under the ticker MFGD. Described as a reverse-logistics company, Upstream solicits customers through nationwide advertising and direct mail campaigns the opportunity to turn their used and unwanted gold jewelry into cash. It’s a direct-from-consumer recycling business model – the customer sends gold, Upstream sends them back a check for what they determine it’s worth. The company then recycles the gold at its partners refinery (the CEO has said he believes the refinery is the largest in North America) and sells it back to gold consumers. The model works for various items customers want to liquidate into immediate cash other than just gold, like electronics and other precious metals. The CFO is a hard-hitting, 27 year-old University of Florida and Duke University grad, while Money4Gold.com, one of the company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, is positioning itself to become the leader in this new market. Talk about a competitive market. Hundreds of these “money for gold” reverse-logistics companies are popping up every day, on every down town street corner in America. If there was any way to count all of them, I think we would be floored with the statistics. Think about it: how many cash for gold sign-wavers will you see if you drive through your town? The main controversy over these businesses is that they operate as “prey businesses” – a term I’m coining to describe companies who primary business plan and target customers is focused exclusively on people who have experienced some form of financial hardship. Other prey businesses could include payday lenders and perhaps even pawn shops. The business model is all the same: find people who are willing to sell something valuable they own for up to 80% off you can sell it for, and offer cash. In a recession, it’s tough to find customers who will say no. For more information visit
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